Melatonin and Marijuana

Your Body's Natural Wonder Drug,

Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D., Jo Robinson;1995 Bantam Books:198-199

Of all the known ways to stimulate melatonin production, none is more dramatic than smoking marijuana. Marijuana stimulates production of a prostaglandin called PGE2, which may relate to its ability to stimulate melatonin production. Italian researchers discovered that when eight men smoked a cigarette containing the active ingredient in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), they had dramatically higher melatonin levels twenty minutes later. After two hours, their melatonin levels were 4,000 percent higher than at baseline!(11)

The fact that smoking marijuana is accompanied by a dramatic increase in melatonin production may explain some of the drug's positive effects. A 1995 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the hallucinogen is being used to counteract the toxicity of chemotherapy, treat migraines, reduce intraocular pressure, minimize pain, treat menstrual cramps, and moderate wasting syndrome in AIDS patients.(12) Melatonin has been shown to ameliorate each and every one of these conditions.

Smoking marijuana as a vehicle to increase melatonin production, however, may not be a good idea. The increase is so marked that it is not likely to be beneficial, especially if one smokes marijuana during the daytime, when melatonin levels are normally so low that they are just above the level of detection. Causing such a dramatic surge in melatonin levels in the daytime could phase-shift your circadian rhythms or interfere with your health in other as yet unknown ways.

References

11. Lissoni, P., Resentini, M., and Fraschini, F. "Effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol on Melatonin Secretion in Man." Hormone and Metabolic Research 1986; 77-78. At baseline, the mean value of their melatonin levels was 21.3 pg/ml. Two hours later, it was 904 pg/ml.

12. Grinspoon, L., and Bakaler, J.B. "Marihuana as Medicine." Joural of the American Medical Association 1995; 273(23): 1875-76.

 

Effects of Tetra-hydrocannabinol

on Melatonin Secretion in Man

Hormone and Metabolic Research 18 (1986) 77-78

Georg Thiem Verlag Stuttgart - New York

P. Lissori, M. Resentini, D. Mauri., D. Esposti*, G. Esposti, D. Rossi, G. Legname and F. Fraschini

Chair of Chemotherapy, and *Institute of Human Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Milan, Milan, Italy

The mechanisms by which tetrahydrocannabiol (delta-9 THC) affects some neuroendocrine activities have not yet been clarified. Its effects cannot be prevented by pretreatment with n-methyltyrosine, which produces brain concentrations of norepenephrine and dopamine (Hollister 1971) At present, the existence of an endogenous agonist cannot be excluded.

To investigate whether its effects involve the participation of the pineal gland, the response of melatonin (the main pineal hormone) to delta-9 THC was evalutated in nine agreeing healthy male volunteers, aged between 29 and 33. The substance was administered at 3 pm through a 1 g. cigarette containing 1% delta-9 THC. Venous blood samples were drawn from an indwelling catheter in an antecubital vein -20, 0, 20, 60 and 120 mins. after drug administration. According to the same experimental protocol, on the preceding day the test had been performed after smoking one normal cigarette. The whole test was carried out in the summer. Sera were separated by centrifugation and stored at - 20C. until assayed. Melatonin serum values were measured by means of the RIA method described by Wetterberg, Erickson, Friberg and Vengbo (1978), using commerically available kits (WHB-Sweden) when the extracts showed melatonin values higher than the detection limit, samples were measured after an adequate dilution. Data were analyzed by Student's t-test and results reported as the mean SD.

A very high signifcant increase (P<0.001) of melatonin serum mean levels, in comparison to the values observed during saline infusion, was noticed in eight of the nine subjects after delta-9 THC administration; the highest values were obtained at 120 mins. from administration (Table I).

In contrast, the last case showed high basal levels of melatonin (289.3 - 321.3 - 157.0 - 72.5 - 181.2 pg/ml, respectively at -20, 0, 20, 60, 120 mins.) without evidence of endocrine or psychiatric disorders, and melatonin peak was significantly inhibited (P<0.001) by delta-9 THC, with the lowest levels reached 60 mins. later (304.2 - 311.7 - 294.2 - 306.0 - 314.8 pg/ml respectively at -20, 0, 60, 120 mins.).

 
Table 1 Serum levels (mean values +/-SD) of melatonin (pg/ml) in 8 healthy subjects after delta-9 THC Administration

Times (mins.)
-20
0
20
60
120

 


Delta-9 THC
23.22.4
21.31.6
87.310.4
663.488.3
904.1104.3
Saline
19.86.3
20.23.4
18.6 5.7
25.37.1
30.2 4.8

 


These preliminary results are difficult to interpret moreover, at present we are unable to explain the high melatonin basal level observed in the last case. However, the present data suggest that delta-9 THC may regulate the activity of the pineal gland either by stimulating or inhibiting melatonin secretion, and that melatonin response to delta-9 THC seems to depend on its basal levels. Moreover, these findings could lead to the hypothesis that the pineal gland is involved in the mechanism of action of delta-9 THC. However, further research and more data, evaluating melatonin response during different photoperiods of the day and using agonists and antagonists of neurotransmitters, are required to ascertain whether the effects of delta-9 THC on the pineal gland are direct or mediated.

 

References

Hollister, L.E.: Marihuana in man: 3 years later: Science 172: 21-29 (1971)

Wetterberg, L., O. Eriksson, Y. Friberg, B. Vangbo: A simplified ratioimmunoassay for melatonin and its application to biological fluids. Preliminary observations on the half-life of plasma melatonin in man: Clin. Chim. Acta 86: 169-177 (1978)

Hallucinogens:  Contemporary Concerns

"Cannabis smoking is associated with an increased risk of developing acute or
chronic psychiatric symptoms. A sixfold increase in incidence of schizophrenia has been reported in a long term follow up study of 55,000" (Nahas and Gleaton).

Research by Italian researchers discovered that when eight men smoked a cigarette containing the active ingredient in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), they had dramatically higher melatonin levels twenty minutes later. After two hours, their melatonin levels were 4,000 percent higher than at baseline!(11).  Other research showing that melatonin is converted on a 25 hour cycle to seratonin and then back to melatonin is a clear indicator that those who smoke marijuana regularly are attempting to self medicate (i.e. perpetual prozac but without the same capacity to block the reuptake of seratonin thus more problems associated with the use of THC.). 

                    The fact that smoking marijuana is accompanied by a dramatic
                    increase in melatonin production may explain some of the drug's
                    positive effects. A 1995 article in The Journal of the American
                    Medical Association reported that the hallucinogen is being used
                    to counteract the toxicity of chemotherapy, treat migraines,
                    reduce intraocular pressure, minimize pain, treat menstrual
                    cramps, and moderate wasting syndrome in AIDS patients.
                    Melatonin has been shown to ameliorate each and every one of
                    these conditions (Reiter & Robinson).

                    Smoking marijuana as a vehicle to increase melatonin production,
                    however, may not be a good idea. The increase is so marked that
                    it is not likely to be beneficial, especially if one smokes marijuana
                    during the daytime, when melatonin levels are normally so low that
                    they are just above the level of detection. Causing such a dramatic
                    surge in melatonin levels in the daytime could phase-shift your
                    circadian rhythms or interfere with your health in other as yet
                    unknown ways ((Reiter & Robinson).
 

Is It Okay To Use Marijuana To Get To Sleep?

Mara: Over the holidays my son came home and found that his dad, who is 55, smokes marijuana to sleep better. My son had a fit and the two of them got into a heated argument over it.

The funny part is, the kid had bought your book "Eat, Drink and Be Merry" as his dad's Christmas present.

What is your opinion on using marijuana to get to sleep?

Dr. Dean: How funny. It all comes home to roost, doesn't it?

It would be perfectly legal for your husband to waste his money on kava kava, or melatonin, or a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn't work for sleep. The fact is, he's spending money on an herb that evidence finds to be very effective for sleep and doesn't seem to cause a hangover -- but it's illegal.

Many fine, upstanding, responsible Americans, who have jobs and raise kids, use marijuana. Some couples use it believing it enhances sex. Sick people use it to fight nausea and increase appetite. And insomniacs use it for sleep.

If the old man were a pothead, smoking all day long, I'd say that's a bad thing. But as far as we can tell, light users don't seem to have medical problems; yet I can't advise the use an illegal drug. That would be inappropriate.

Based on medicine rather than on moral pharmacology, your son should be more concerned if he came home to find dad is a regular user of any of a number of prescription sleeping pills.

 

Melatonin and Marijuana

Your Body's Natural Wonder Drug,

Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D., Jo Robinson;1995 Bantam Books:198-199

Of all the known ways to stimulate melatonin production, none is more dramatic than smoking marijuana. Marijuana stimulates production of a prostaglandin called PGE2, which may relate to its ability to stimulate melatonin production. Italian researchers discovered that when eight men smoked a cigarette containing the active ingredient in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), they had dramatically higher melatonin levels twenty minutes later. After two hours, their melatonin levels were 4,000 percent higher than at baseline!(11)

The fact that smoking marijuana is accompanied by a dramatic increase in melatonin production may explain some of the drug's positive effects. A 1995 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the hallucinogen is being used to counteract the toxicity of chemotherapy, treat migraines, reduce intraocular pressure, minimize pain, treat menstrual cramps, and moderate wasting syndrome in AIDS patients.(12) Melatonin has been shown to ameliorate each and every one of these conditions.

Smoking marijuana as a vehicle to increase melatonin production, however, may not be a good idea. The increase is so marked that it is not likely to be beneficial, especially if one smokes marijuana during the daytime, when melatonin levels are normally so low that they are just above the level of detection. Causing such a dramatic surge in melatonin levels in the daytime could phase-shift your circadian rhythms or interfere with your health in other as yet unknown ways.

References

11. Lissoni, P., Resentini, M., and Fraschini, F. "Effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol on Melatonin Secretion in Man." Hormone and Metabolic Research 1986; 77-78. At baseline, the mean value of their melatonin levels was 21.3 pg/ml. Two hours later, it was 904 pg/ml.

12. Grinspoon, L., and Bakaler, J.B. "Marihuana as Medicine." Joural of the American Medical Association 1995; 273(23): 1875-76.

 

Effects of Tetra-hydrocannabinol

on Melatonin Secretion in Man

Hormone and Metabolic Research 18 (1986) 77-78

Georg Thiem Verlag Stuttgart - New York

P. Lissori, M. Resentini, D. Mauri., D. Esposti*, G. Esposti, D. Rossi, G. Legname and F. Fraschini

Chair of Chemotherapy, and *Institute of Human Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Milan, Milan, Italy

The mechanisms by which tetrahydrocannabiol (delta-9 THC) affects some neuroendocrine activities have not yet been clarified. Its effects cannot be prevented by pretreatment with n-methyltyrosine, which produces brain concentrations of norepenephrine and dopamine (Hollister 1971) At present, the existence of an endogenous agonist cannot be excluded.

To investigate whether its effects involve the participation of the pineal gland, the response of melatonin (the main pineal hormone) to delta-9 THC was evalutated in nine agreeing healthy male volunteers, aged between 29 and 33. The substance was administered at 3 pm through a 1 g. cigarette containing 1% delta-9 THC. Venous blood samples were drawn from an indwelling catheter in an antecubital vein -20, 0, 20, 60 and 120 mins. after drug administration. According to the same experimental protocol, on the preceding day the test had been performed after smoking one normal cigarette. The whole test was carried out in the summer. Sera were separated by centrifugation and stored at - 20C. until assayed. Melatonin serum values were measured by means of the RIA method described by Wetterberg, Erickson, Friberg and Vengbo (1978), using commerically available kits (WHB-Sweden) when the extracts showed melatonin values higher than the detection limit, samples were measured after an adequate dilution. Data were analyzed by Student's t-test and results reported as the mean SD.

A very high signifcant increase (P<0.001) of melatonin serum mean levels, in comparison to the values observed during saline infusion, was noticed in eight of the nine subjects after delta-9 THC administration; the highest values were obtained at 120 mins. from administration (Table I).

In contrast, the last case showed high basal levels of melatonin (289.3 - 321.3 - 157.0 - 72.5 - 181.2 pg/ml, respectively at -20, 0, 20, 60, 120 mins.) without evidence of endocrine or psychiatric disorders, and melatonin peak was significantly inhibited (P<0.001) by delta-9 THC, with the lowest levels reached 60 mins. later (304.2 - 311.7 - 294.2 - 306.0 - 314.8 pg/ml respectively at -20, 0, 60, 120 mins.).

 
Table 1 Serum levels (mean values +/-SD) of melatonin (pg/ml) in 8 healthy subjects after delta-9 THC Administration

Times (mins.)
-20
0
20
60
120

 


Delta-9 THC
23.22.4
21.31.6
87.310.4
663.488.3
904.1104.3
Saline
19.86.3
20.23.4
18.6 5.7
25.37.1
30.2 4.8

 


These preliminary results are difficult to interpret moreover, at present we are unable to explain the high melatonin basal level observed in the last case. However, the present data suggest that delta-9 THC may regulate the activity of the pineal gland either by stimulating or inhibiting melatonin secretion, and that melatonin response to delta-9 THC seems to depend on its basal levels. Moreover, these findings could lead to the hypothesis that the pineal gland is involved in the mechanism of action of delta-9 THC. However, further research and more data, evaluating melatonin response during different photoperiods of the day and using agonists and antagonists of neurotransmitters, are required to ascertain whether the effects of delta-9 THC on the pineal gland are direct or mediated.

 

References

Hollister, L.E.: Marihuana in man: 3 years later: Science 172: 21-29 (1971)

Wetterberg, L., O. Eriksson, Y. Friberg, B. Vangbo: A simplified ratioimmunoassay for melatonin and its application to biological fluids. Preliminary observations on the half-life of plasma melatonin in man: Clin. Chim. Acta 86: 169-177 (1978)

Hallucinogens:  Contemporary Concerns

"Cannabis smoking is associated with an increased risk of developing acute or
chronic psychiatric symptoms. A sixfold increase in incidence of schizophrenia has been reported in a long term follow up study of 55,000" (Nahas and Gleaton).

Research by Italian researchers discovered that when eight men smoked a cigarette containing the active ingredient in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), they had dramatically higher melatonin levels twenty minutes later. After two hours, their melatonin levels were 4,000 percent higher than at baseline!(11).  Other research showing that melatonin is converted on a 25 hour cycle to seratonin and then back to melatonin is a clear indicator that those who smoke marijuana regularly are attempting to self medicate (i.e. perpetual prozac but without the same capacity to block the reuptake of seratonin thus more problems associated with the use of THC.). 

                    The fact that smoking marijuana is accompanied by a dramatic
                    increase in melatonin production may explain some of the drug's
                    positive effects. A 1995 article in The Journal of the American
                    Medical Association reported that the hallucinogen is being used
                    to counteract the toxicity of chemotherapy, treat migraines,
                    reduce intraocular pressure, minimize pain, treat menstrual
                    cramps, and moderate wasting syndrome in AIDS patients.
                    Melatonin has been shown to ameliorate each and every one of
                    these conditions (Reiter & Robinson).

                    Smoking marijuana as a vehicle to increase melatonin production,
                    however, may not be a good idea. The increase is so marked that
                    it is not likely to be beneficial, especially if one smokes marijuana
                    during the daytime, when melatonin levels are normally so low that
                    they are just above the level of detection. Causing such a dramatic
                    surge in melatonin levels in the daytime could phase-shift your
                    circadian rhythms or interfere with your health in other as yet
                    unknown ways ((Reiter & Robinson).
 

Is It Okay To Use Marijuana To Get To Sleep?

Mara: Over the holidays my son came home and found that his dad, who is 55, smokes marijuana to sleep better. My son had a fit and the two of them got into a heated argument over it.

The funny part is, the kid had bought your book "Eat, Drink and Be Merry" as his dad's Christmas present.

What is your opinion on using marijuana to get to sleep?

Dr. Dean: How funny. It all comes home to roost, doesn't it?

It would be perfectly legal for your husband to waste his money on kava kava, or melatonin, or a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn't work for sleep. The fact is, he's spending money on an herb that evidence finds to be very effective for sleep and doesn't seem to cause a hangover -- but it's illegal.

Many fine, upstanding, responsible Americans, who have jobs and raise kids, use marijuana. Some couples use it believing it enhances sex. Sick people use it to fight nausea and increase appetite. And insomniacs use it for sleep.

If the old man were a pothead, smoking all day long, I'd say that's a bad thing. But as far as we can tell, light users don't seem to have medical problems; yet I can't advise the use an illegal drug. That would be inappropriate.

Based on medicine rather than on moral pharmacology, your son should be more concerned if he came home to find dad is a regular user of any of a number of prescription sleeping pills.

 

Melatonin and Marijuana

Your Body's Natural Wonder Drug,

Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D., Jo Robinson;1995 Bantam Books:198-199

Of all the known ways to stimulate melatonin production, none is more dramatic than smoking marijuana. Marijuana stimulates production of a prostaglandin called PGE2, which may relate to its ability to stimulate melatonin production. Italian researchers discovered that when eight men smoked a cigarette containing the active ingredient in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), they had dramatically higher melatonin levels twenty minutes later. After two hours, their melatonin levels were 4,000 percent higher than at baseline!(11)

The fact that smoking marijuana is accompanied by a dramatic increase in melatonin production may explain some of the drug's positive effects. A 1995 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the hallucinogen is being used to counteract the toxicity of chemotherapy, treat migraines, reduce intraocular pressure, minimize pain, treat menstrual cramps, and moderate wasting syndrome in AIDS patients.(12) Melatonin has been shown to ameliorate each and every one of these conditions.

Smoking marijuana as a vehicle to increase melatonin production, however, may not be a good idea. The increase is so marked that it is not likely to be beneficial, especially if one smokes marijuana during the daytime, when melatonin levels are normally so low that they are just above the level of detection. Causing such a dramatic surge in melatonin levels in the daytime could phase-shift your circadian rhythms or interfere with your health in other as yet unknown ways.

References

11. Lissoni, P., Resentini, M., and Fraschini, F. "Effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol on Melatonin Secretion in Man." Hormone and Metabolic Research 1986; 77-78. At baseline, the mean value of their melatonin levels was 21.3 pg/ml. Two hours later, it was 904 pg/ml.

12. Grinspoon, L., and Bakaler, J.B. "Marihuana as Medicine." Joural of the American Medical Association 1995; 273(23): 1875-76.

 

Effects of Tetra-hydrocannabinol

on Melatonin Secretion in Man

Hormone and Metabolic Research 18 (1986) 77-78

Georg Thiem Verlag Stuttgart - New York

P. Lissori, M. Resentini, D. Mauri., D. Esposti*, G. Esposti, D. Rossi, G. Legname and F. Fraschini

Chair of Chemotherapy, and *Institute of Human Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Milan, Milan, Italy

The mechanisms by which tetrahydrocannabiol (delta-9 THC) affects some neuroendocrine activities have not yet been clarified. Its effects cannot be prevented by pretreatment with n-methyltyrosine, which produces brain concentrations of norepenephrine and dopamine (Hollister 1971) At present, the existence of an endogenous agonist cannot be excluded.

To investigate whether its effects involve the participation of the pineal gland, the response of melatonin (the main pineal hormone) to delta-9 THC was evalutated in nine agreeing healthy male volunteers, aged between 29 and 33. The substance was administered at 3 pm through a 1 g. cigarette containing 1% delta-9 THC. Venous blood samples were drawn from an indwelling catheter in an antecubital vein -20, 0, 20, 60 and 120 mins. after drug administration. According to the same experimental protocol, on the preceding day the test had been performed after smoking one normal cigarette. The whole test was carried out in the summer. Sera were separated by centrifugation and stored at - 20C. until assayed. Melatonin serum values were measured by means of the RIA method described by Wetterberg, Erickson, Friberg and Vengbo (1978), using commerically available kits (WHB-Sweden) when the extracts showed melatonin values higher than the detection limit, samples were measured after an adequate dilution. Data were analyzed by Student's t-test and results reported as the mean SD.

A very high signifcant increase (P<0.001) of melatonin serum mean levels, in comparison to the values observed during saline infusion, was noticed in eight of the nine subjects after delta-9 THC administration; the highest values were obtained at 120 mins. from administration (Table I).

In contrast, the last case showed high basal levels of melatonin (289.3 - 321.3 - 157.0 - 72.5 - 181.2 pg/ml, respectively at -20, 0, 20, 60, 120 mins.) without evidence of endocrine or psychiatric disorders, and melatonin peak was significantly inhibited (P<0.001) by delta-9 THC, with the lowest levels reached 60 mins. later (304.2 - 311.7 - 294.2 - 306.0 - 314.8 pg/ml respectively at -20, 0, 60, 120 mins.).

 
Table 1 Serum levels (mean values +/-SD) of melatonin (pg/ml) in 8 healthy subjects after delta-9 THC Administration

Times (mins.)
-20
0
20
60
120

 


Delta-9 THC
23.22.4
21.31.6
87.310.4
663.488.3
904.1104.3
Saline
19.86.3
20.23.4
18.6 5.7
25.37.1
30.2 4.8

 


These preliminary results are difficult to interpret moreover, at present we are unable to explain the high melatonin basal level observed in the last case. However, the present data suggest that delta-9 THC may regulate the activity of the pineal gland either by stimulating or inhibiting melatonin secretion, and that melatonin response to delta-9 THC seems to depend on its basal levels. Moreover, these findings could lead to the hypothesis that the pineal gland is involved in the mechanism of action of delta-9 THC. However, further research and more data, evaluating melatonin response during different photoperiods of the day and using agonists and antagonists of neurotransmitters, are required to ascertain whether the effects of delta-9 THC on the pineal gland are direct or mediated.

 

References

Hollister, L.E.: Marihuana in man: 3 years later: Science 172: 21-29 (1971)

Wetterberg, L., O. Eriksson, Y. Friberg, B. Vangbo: A simplified ratioimmunoassay for melatonin and its application to biological fluids. Preliminary observations on the half-life of plasma melatonin in man: Clin. Chim. Acta 86: 169-177 (1978)

Hallucinogens:  Contemporary Concerns

"Cannabis smoking is associated with an increased risk of developing acute or
chronic psychiatric symptoms. A sixfold increase in incidence of schizophrenia has been reported in a long term follow up study of 55,000" (Nahas and Gleaton).

Research by Italian researchers discovered that when eight men smoked a cigarette containing the active ingredient in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), they had dramatically higher melatonin levels twenty minutes later. After two hours, their melatonin levels were 4,000 percent higher than at baseline!(11).  Other research showing that melatonin is converted on a 25 hour cycle to seratonin and then back to melatonin is a clear indicator that those who smoke marijuana regularly are attempting to self medicate (i.e. perpetual prozac but without the same capacity to block the reuptake of seratonin thus more problems associated with the use of THC.). 

                    The fact that smoking marijuana is accompanied by a dramatic
                    increase in melatonin production may explain some of the drug's
                    positive effects. A 1995 article in The Journal of the American
                    Medical Association reported that the hallucinogen is being used
                    to counteract the toxicity of chemotherapy, treat migraines,
                    reduce intraocular pressure, minimize pain, treat menstrual
                    cramps, and moderate wasting syndrome in AIDS patients.
                    Melatonin has been shown to ameliorate each and every one of
                    these conditions (Reiter & Robinson).

                    Smoking marijuana as a vehicle to increase melatonin production,
                    however, may not be a good idea. The increase is so marked that
                    it is not likely to be beneficial, especially if one smokes marijuana
                    during the daytime, when melatonin levels are normally so low that
                    they are just above the level of detection. Causing such a dramatic
                    surge in melatonin levels in the daytime could phase-shift your
                    circadian rhythms or interfere with your health in other as yet
                    unknown ways ((Reiter & Robinson).
 

Is It Okay To Use Marijuana To Get To Sleep?

Mara: Over the holidays my son came home and found that his dad, who is 55, smokes marijuana to sleep better. My son had a fit and the two of them got into a heated argument over it.

The funny part is, the kid had bought your book "Eat, Drink and Be Merry" as his dad's Christmas present.

What is your opinion on using marijuana to get to sleep?

Dr. Dean: How funny. It all comes home to roost, doesn't it?

It would be perfectly legal for your husband to waste his money on kava kava, or melatonin, or a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn't work for sleep. The fact is, he's spending money on an herb that evidence finds to be very effective for sleep and doesn't seem to cause a hangover -- but it's illegal.

Many fine, upstanding, responsible Americans, who have jobs and raise kids, use marijuana. Some couples use it believing it enhances sex. Sick people use it to fight nausea and increase appetite. And insomniacs use it for sleep.

If the old man were a pothead, smoking all day long, I'd say that's a bad thing. But as far as we can tell, light users don't seem to have medical problems; yet I can't advise the use an illegal drug. That would be inappropriate.

Based on medicine rather than on moral pharmacology, your son should be more concerned if he came home to find dad is a regular user of any of a number of prescription sleeping pills.